WOULD YOU PREFER TO HAVE APPLES IN THE OFFICE?
What’s stopping you?
If you’re a fan of Apple equipment and would like to integrate Apple devices into your existing environment, the good news it is becoming easier to establish a hybrid type of infrastructure thanks to the recent inception of new technologies.
APPLE DEVICES ARE EMPOWERING EMPLOYEES TO WORK IN SURPRISING NEW WAYS.
Network Rail uses Mac and iOS devices to improve maintenance using Mac and IOS apps to monitor more than 20,000 miles of track in Great Britain. The apps can identify dangers to help deliver faster repairs and improve the overall safety of transportation lines.
Many retail operations are using Mac and iOS devices to streamline a growing retail business from point-of-sale (POS) to accounting and apps that keep the business moving forward.
In the manufacturing industry, more factories are relying on Mac/iOS devices to synchronise factory operations by connecting factory personnel to co-workers and the production line to ensure quick solutions to problems.
These are only a few examples of the reason behind Apple’s surge in sales.
According to Luca Maestri, CFO for Apple, “In the most recent quarter, Apple sold 5.7 million Macs, up 3% year-over-year, for roughly $6.8 billion in revenue. Mac sales account for the second largest share in Apple’s overall revenue, after the iPhones.”
EXPLAINING THE SURGE OF MACS, IPADS, AND IPHONES IN THE OFFICE.
Macs aren’t niche anymore.
Apple Mac devices are no longer restricted to specialty areas such as marketing, graphic design, and engineering. Instead, the use of Macs in the office is rapidly increasing along with the need for better management in a Mac/Windows environment. Additionally, Microsoft has gradually been adopting the same approach to PC management that Apple currently uses.
Believe it or not, they’re cost-effective.
From a financial standpoint, more businesses are integrating Mac devices into their existing Windows environment despite the fact the devices are typically more expensive than Windows devices. However, more organisations are finding that they are saving money with Mac and iOS devices over the long term.
And IBM use them!??
For example, during the last quarter of 2015, “International Business Machines (IBM) reported having more than 30,000 MacBooks deployed across the company saving approximately £215 per device compared to PCs. The company has since added more than 1,900 MacBooks to its inventory each week” according to an article in Business Insider.
During October of 2016 at the Jamf Nation User Conference for IT management professionals, Fletcher Previn, IBM VP of Workplace as a Service, talked about IBM’s decision to start letting employees choose between Windows or Mac machines, the cost of PCs vs. Macs, and the resulting changes to the company.
APPLE AND WINDOWS WILL PLAY NICELY TOGETHER IN A CROSS-PLATFORM ENVIRONMENT.
As long as your IT company know what they’re doing (wink wink).
As we mentioned earlier, Microsoft is gradually adopting Apple’s approach to PC management. This is how IBM is allowing its employees to choose between a MacBook or Windows PC.
Basically, it works like this.
Using APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) at the operating system level allows everything to be managed as if it were a mobile device. This ensures that company policies can be consistently implemented across all devices.
Management of Mac in a Windows environment has three major parts:
- Mac integration with Microsoft Exchange and Active Directory
- Managing policies for Macs in a similar manner to Windows PC group policies
- Sound understanding how to deploy Mac apps, configurations, and updates
The result is a combined overall workflow across the organisation.
Mac Devices and Active Directory?
- Active Directory is a critical part of joining devices in an environment that facilitates processes such as access controls, user authentication, management of the Windows environment, audit logs, and integration with applications such as Microsoft Exchange.
- Active Directory essentially functions as a central source capable of reaching beyond Windows devices. AD is the focal point of every computing environment.
- Macs can join Active Directory thanks to built-in technologies located under Launch System Preferences that allow each device to join the network and enter user credentials to join the domain. This allows Mac users to log in using Active Directory credentials the same as Windows devices do. Log in also supports file sharing and network browsing.
EMAIL CAN BE INTEGRATED ASWELL.
Another central resource, next to Active Directory, in most organisations is the use of Exchange and Outlook.
Two integration methods.
When it comes to integrating Macs with Exchange, there are two methods:
- You can install Microsoft Office 365 for Mac which includes Outlook.
- You can choose to use the PIM (Personal Information Manager) app in Mac OS X.
Although these two options are not automatically active based on the user account, Active Directory is used to perform the configuration using a policy. The policy easily enables automated configuration under the System Preferences option if you are using a PIM app or the Preferences feature in Outlook. Manual configuration is simple and can be easily setup by the device user.
Not forgetting security.
Once you integrate with Exchange and Outlook, Microsoft Azure Rights Management is used to provide email and document security. This platform allows administrators to set access restrictions and permissions across all device users.
A Microsoft client such as Outlook or Word 2016 allows Mac and iOS users to access emails and files, provided they have authorized access as described above. The permissions are configured by IT administrators in the Azure Active Directory.
HOW TO JUSTIFY THE COST OF USING APPLE DEVICES IN THE WORKPLACE.
Mac devices are not exactly inexpensive.
You can easily spend in excess of £1600 or more for a MacBook or MacBook Pro. The flip side to this is that you can now shell out the same amount of money for a Lenovo, Dell, Surface, or HP device give or take a few hundred pounds depending upon the configuration.
Many organisations make the mistake of comparing Mac costs to a less expensive PC that a home user might purchase. The argument here is that business-class organisations typically do not purchase cheaper devices that a home user would buy making this comparison irrelevant.
Other reasons to justify the cost.
- Durability: Mac devices have been proven by Cisco and Intel to be more durable with a longer lifespan. This means that your organisation will save money on repairs and maintenance.
- Tech Support: Organisations that have Mac and iOS devices deployed have experienced lower tech support costs primarily because the OS X operating system is consistent and reliable.
- Viruses and Malware: The cost of required support due to damage caused by viruses and malware is significantly lower or next to nothing. This is because there are fewer viruses and malware for Apple devices then there are for Windows devices.
The bottom line.
The TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) for Mac devices does not exceed the TCO for Windows PCs and, in most cases as described in the IBM example, the cost is lower.
I JUST DON’T THINK WE’RE COMPATIBLE…
Actually you’re wrong.
It is a fact that Mac devices seamlessly integrate with other Apple devices such as iPhones and iPads. Macs are popular because the settings remain in sync making it easy to move data around regardless of the device you are using.
The improved integration of Mac devices in a Windows environment can be scary for IT administrators. However, things have gotten much easier in the past few years as Microsoft steps up to the plate. Microsoft is currently on its way with new features in Office 365 that include Exchange, OneDrive, SharePoint, Azure Active Directory, and better synchronisation capabilities for Windows settings.
The questions for businesses that want to integrate Mac into their existing Windows environment is:
- Do you allow your device users to use the native app environment since data is easily transferred across the apps?
- Do you establish a Microsoft-focused system across all Windows and OS X devices including iOS?
Office 365 is a step in the right direction.
Office 365 is great for addressing cross platform issues and it is predicted to keep moving forward as more organisations are looking to integrate Mac devices into a Windows environment. Currently, IT professionals in many organisations are adhering to the standards for Microsoft Office 365 and its communication tools and then integrating through Active Directory and Azure.
And Browser Compatibility isn’t an issue either.
In terms of browser use, Mac devices can easily use Safari, Firefox, and Google Chrome which are equal to the version that Windows PCs use, so this does not present any compatibility issues. And, with the inception of Microsoft Edge as a replacement for Internet Explorer, applications that were previously dependent upon Microsoft Active X are no long a problem. Plus, Microsoft Edge offers improved HTML support which improves Web app and website compatibility with Mac device browsers.
THE ATTRACTION OF USING APPLE DEVICES IN THE WORKPLACE.
You’ll be less Vulnerable to Security Threats.
Although Mac devices are not immune to viruses and malware, they are less susceptible. Plus, when it comes to IT maintenance within an organisation, it is easier for IT professionals to further reduce the vulnerability using OS X security policies (in effect since 2012) that block the installation of any application (including those from the App Store) that has not been verified by a certified Apple developer.
There’s less Maintenance.
Typically, there is less maintenance that must be performed on a Mac device as opposed to a Windows PC. Underneath the surface of Mac OS X is a solid UNIX foundation that helps to ensure the system retains high performance and stability, and its fair to say that Macs crash less than Windows. This is a great advantage when it comes to working with commercial applications.
They’re very User-Friendly.
Software for Apple Mac devices is designed with the user in mind. This means the interface is more often less complex than Windows software since the developers focus on the end user.
And they’re interchangeable.
Apple devices easily integrate with one another making daily productivity tasks faster and easier.
FINAL TAKE OUTS.
If you are looking to integrate Mac and iOS devices into a Windows environment, then you’d be wise to invest in the services of an Mac specialist with experience in deploying and maintaining Macs in a cross platform environment.
The fact remains that OS X has a different architecture than Windows, regardless of how far things have come. Therefore, it is critical for IT departments to understand the differences between the two architectures and possess the necessary skills to accurately deploy, support, and manage Mac devices in this type of environment.
They should be capable of doing this on a large scale since this represents a bigger challenge than managing just a few Mac devices on the system. Deployments on a larger scale mean being capable of automating implementation and configuration in addition to knowledge of how to enforce policies across an entire organisation.
Lastly, your help desk support personnel should be trained on Mac OS X support and its function in a mixed environment. You can find training resources on the Apple website.
ABOUT OUR IT DEPARTMENT.
Our IT Department is an Award Winning Apple specialist that provides a comprehensive range of ongoing support services and technology solutions to organisations across London and the East of England. If you need help setting up and configuring Apple technologies in the workplace then we’re the trusted and highly accredited experts that can help you.
Our IT Department is ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 27001:2013 accredited. We are also an Apple Certified Specialist.